Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Building A Better Me

People always ask me what is it I love about CrossFit.  There are so many things I can’t even begin to list them off. I love the constant challenge, being outside my comfort zone constantly, the people & the atmosphere.  But one of the things I love most is the ability to measure and track improvement.
I love numbers and stats in all elements of my life, and this is one area CrossFit shines. I log every workout using a service called Beyond the Whiteboard , which allows me to enter the results of every workout I do.  It measures and tracks every element and you can compare previous efforts. 
It’s very hard in most physical pursuits to accurately track your progress, sports like running for example it is easier than say a weekly circuit or a Zumba class you might attend where it’s virtually impossible to tangibly track results.
Over the weekend I got a very good look at how I have improved over the last 9 months.  And this time it wasn’t just my max weight, it was something I have been striving for since day 1, and that’s and improvement in my work capacity.  Meaning the amount of work I can get done in a fixed amount of time.
On Sunday I participated in the CrossFit Feel Good Games Day. WOD 1 was a run of unspecified distance and then AMRAP of Burpees until the 10min time cap expired. My two least favourite movements first up. I could not contain my excitement – NOT.  Although I have done considerable work on my running this year I am still not fast and I still struggle with it. So as I stood there awaiting the start I worked out in my head how I would approach the run. One of the girls ahead of me already told me it was 800m and I knew it was going to be hilly. I just wanted to push as hard as I could but keep the pace consistent and the goal was not to walk.  My plan for the burpees was just to survive.
We headed out and it wasn’t long before I was dead last in the run, but that was cool. I’m ok with that and I didn’t let it stress me. I just did what I could and kept moving. I had my run coach Tash’s voice in my head telling me we don’t walk in training so we don’t walk now. Tough run though.
I got back to the complex and my judge met me half way up the driveway entrance and I started hitting the burpees.  I had the crew from CrossFit New Beginning right behind me pushing me on, and my Coach Matt was not letting up on me. He wanted me to just keep moving. Everyone else was stopping and resting so I had to just keep moving. The run took me 5min so I had 5min to get as many burpees done as I could.  I was on a really rough bit of concrete and could feel the skin on my knee being shredded but ignored it and kept going.  After what seemed like an eternity finally time was called. My score for the event was 42 burpees. Nowhere near the most but I was more than happy with my effort. I was shattered and I think this picture shows that I gave it everything I had. 

 And now here’s my win...........
Back in February I did the Games 12.1 WOD which was a 7min AMRAP of burpees. Because of scaling I didn’t do the additional 6in jump to a target, just the standard burpees.  I got through 47 of those painful suckers and I hated every single one of them. It was hard. I never wanted to do that one again.  I remember taking lots of mini breaks and struggling big time, mentally as well as physically.
This 7mins of Burpees was done as the first WOD after a light warm up and some mobility so nothing too taxing on the body. 47 was a good number for me.
But here I was after a crushing run, banging out 42 burpees in 5mins which means my effort with for 7mins without the run was blown out of the water. BOOM!!
WOD 2 for the games day was a 5min AMRAP of 7 deadlift, 5 hang power cleans, 3 shoulder to overhead at 30kg.
I was so looking forward to this workout and felt totally comfortable with the movements and weight. Strength stuff is my favourite thing in the world and I knew I could handle this one. I worked out with my coach a plan for how to attack the workout and went in focused.
The deadlifts were easy as for me and I powered through them on each round. The hang power cleans got a little tougher than I expected and the push press I used for the shoulder to overhead was easy to manage.  If anything it was the hang power cleans that slowed me up a little.
By the end of the 5mins I had pushed through 5 completed rounds and 7 deadlifts in round 6.  82 reps, not the fastest nor the slowest but I was happy with my output and effort.
Here’s a vid of me in action doing that WOD

Now to the second win for me.....
That WOD was similar in structure to a CrossFit Hero WOD ‘DT’ which is 5rds for time of those movements.  I last attempted that one back in March this year. For that attempt I had a 45kg bar for deadlift and 20kg bar for the other 2 movements. Here’s a link the post I wrote about it at the time.
It took me 15m18s to complete the WOD. I remember it clearly at the time hurting a lot and I struggled to get the overhead lifts done each round.
So on Sunday whilst my deadlift weight was fractionally lower, I was heavier on the other 2 lifts and completed 5rds and into the 6th round in 5mins. That’s a significant improvement in work capacity and also the weight for the lifts.
Sometimes I struggle to see the progress I have made but it’s moments like these I am actually proud of the effort I put in after I see these results.  Sure I finished 3rd last in my division at the event, but I’m ok with that. For me I felt like it was the best effort I have had at an event and I know I worked to my capacity. Out of it I have several areas I want to learn from and improve, from running to improving my lifting technique so I can be more efficient.  This was my first year of competing and to be honest had I not been given a push into my first event in April I might not have done any. It’s a massive thing for me to have put myself out there to do my thing in a Games Day. And as I look back on my year of events I have achieved a lot not only physically and also with my confidence levels. By the time Games season for me rolls around next year I know I will be stronger & faster, and better in all aspects of my training & life. It’s all part of the process of building a better me.

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